I expect this list will keep growing throughout the summer...
• A subscription to Moo Cow Fan Club magazine—a terrific kids' magazine which comes out in themed editions, each issue focusing on an interesting topic like bugs, the weather, Scotland, Egypt, wagon trains, or dinosaurs. I had the opportunity to check out several issues of Moo Cow, and to be frank, it was WEEKS before I could wrest them away from the kids long enough to peruse them myself. The themed format means each issue is sort of like a little unit study. My gang loves this immerse-yourself-in-a-topic aspect. The cartoons and zany Moo Cow characters have also been a big hit.
• A subscription to Muse Magazine, which I wrote about in this post on our favorite children's magazines. I think if I'd been keeping a list of all the interesting conversations Jane and I have had this past year, a whopping majority of them would have begun, "So Mom, I was reading Muse and..."
In fact, so central has Muse become to our family discussions that not only am I now reading it cover to cover myself (and catching up on back issues, because quite frankly, Jane has learned so much interesting stuff from this magazine that she is leaving her mother in the dust), this year I am spending a chunk of our Fun Learning Stuff budget on some more magazines from Muse's publisher.
Cobblestone (the educational arm of Carus, which publishes Muse, Cricket, Spider, and a host of other children's magazines) is currently running a special offer: buy four subscriptions and save up to $54. I looked for information about whether this offer definitely applies to homeschoolers, didn't find it, placed an order anyway, and got the discount.
Ask (like Muse, but for younger kids—should be perfect for my 6- and almost-9-year-olds);
Odyssey (like Muse, but for older kids);
Dig (about archeology! How cool is that?);
Cobblestone (about U.S. history).
I'll report back on those in a few months.
Now back to my list of stuff to buy instead of curriculum...
• Board games. We just got Clue. How did we not have Clue? I LOVE Clue!
Others we enjoy:
Settlers of Catan. (You know this. I've raved about it before.)
Monopoly. (Who doesn't love Monopoly?)
Caves and Claws. (Such a simple little game, but it has been popular here for, gosh, at least five years, maybe longer.)
• Origami paper.
• Good paintbrushes and watercolor paper. There is just nothing quite like painting on real watercolor paper.
• Family memberships! You know about our zoo membership. We recently bought an aquarium membership too. It was cheaper than two visits' worth of admission would have been. The girls want to live there.
I have to go make breakfast, but as I said, this list will probably keep growing.
*UPDATED ALREADY! I asked Jane what else she'd add to this list, and she said:
• all of Hilda van Stockum's books
• all of E. Nesbit's books
• the entire line of unabridged Puffin Classics. LOL!! (It looks like many of the newer editions of Puffin Classics have been abridged. Bummer.)